Jerusalem Post, Billboard; August 17, 2007
She raved about the music and the men, insisting they were not shallow, pretentious urban guys. Instead, she promised educated, high-quality, down-to-earth students – mostly from Haifa University and the Technion – looking for more intimate, intelligent partying.
Every Thursday night, the party at the kibbutz is themed after an ‘ideology,’ as co-manager Kobi Shetach put it. He himself is an education and communications student at Haifa University. Themes have included Changing the Courtship Culture, Woman’s Lib, and Foreplay. I was invited on Gentlemen’s Night, dedicated to bringing back the culture of gentlemen, which Shetach himself admitted is sorely lacking among Israeli men.
I figured, why not explore non-urban partying, particularly with a few nice, smart gentlemen?
A good thing my friend (a local) drove, because it was a long, windy road to Terminal, one I wouldn’t have been able to navigate without a GPS. Walking in, I was taken aback.
‘This is it?’ I wondered.
The place looked like a converted barn, bereft of the sleek modern light fixtures, walls and rails that characterize Tel Aviv dance bars. A misshapen ‘crystal’ chandelier hung from the center of the lively dancefloor, and beer bottles hung from strings around the hall.
‘Maybe this is how they party in the Israeli countryside?’ I wondered. ‘Maybe they don’t need the sophisticated, often pretentious decor of urban centers?’
The atmosphere was definitely more relaxed than that of metropolitan digs, but the men looked like your average Israeli partiers; not particularly bright or beautiful. Of course, one can’t judge on looks alone; could be they were all rocket scientists. Indeed, my friend actually introduced me to a physics student (who didn’t give me the time of day), but there wasn’t much of a chance to talk over the din of the mainstream club music spun by the DJ.
I decided to dance away my disappointment, and noticed staff handing out white roses to men, presumably for them to give to women. I didn’t get a rose. No ‘gentleman’ treated me to a drink either, except for Shlomi, the owner, who sought to make sure a journalist from The Jerusalem Post had a good time.
Maybe he overdid it. He left me a bottle of vodka at the far end of the bar, and whenever I felt a tad bored or uninspired by the music or men, I took an unladylike shluk.
I met a 28-year-old guy (I think he was 28; can’t say I really remember) who works at a toy store. He generally wasn’t my type, but he was a total sweetie who bought me water and let me share my drunken pain at the conformist nature of Israeli society. We discussed politics, Olmert, and the fragility of this country. He sympathized, and warned me that Israel has only a decade to go.
Then we parted ways – he probably thought I was a little weird – with him wishing me a good decade.
I tried to dance and talk with more people as I waited for my friend to take me home. Eventually the contents of the vodka bottle also wanted to leave, and I ended up over a toilet bowl. Two gentlemen came to my rescue. Then I heard some non-gentleman murmur from behind, mocking me: ‘Jerusalem Post! Jerusalem Post!’
I rode home in a stupor, realizing (to the extent that I was able to realize anything at that point) that leaving for a party in the Israeli countryside is not necessarily the cure for a lonely city girl looking for a gentleman.
Terminal, Kibbutz Ramat Menashe; NIS 20, First-timers free. Thursday night ages 25+; Friday ages 20+. Music: Hip-groove, black, hip-hop, dance, house and trance; (054) 555-8939